“I grow old…I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I
dare to each a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers,
and walk upon the beach.”
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
About This Listing
This listing is for a hand-painted clay pendant featuring an intricate gouache seascape inspired by T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." The pendants are finished with two coats of UV-resistant gloss varnish on the front, and left unvarnished on the back so as to highlight the gritty earthen texture of the fired clay. They are signed and dated by the artist on the back. Each pendant measures approximately 1.5 inches in diameter and comes with a 21-inch silver-plated figaro chain. It will be packaged in a decorative Kraft jewelry box with velvety black backing, and accompanied by a printed label detailing the specifications of the piece and including the quotation that inspired it.
Because these pendants are handmade and hand-painted, no two are identical, although all share the same colors and general design. Thus, the pendant you receive may not be exactly the same as the ones highlighted in the photos, but will be its own unique and original work of art.
To ensure a long life for your hand-painted pendant, keep it dry and take care not to drop it or scratch the surface. Dust as needed with a clean microfiber cloth.
While my frustration with T.S. Eliot as a person and a public figure has grown steadily since I left college, my love for his "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" has never wavered. That's something beautiful about literary fiction: how a story can be much, much wiser than its author if it is told truthfully, reflecting real things from the real world.
Prufrock—originally titled "Prufrock Among the Women"—is the story of a balding and insecure middle-aged man who tries and fails to work up the courage to make advances to a woman. Prufrock, who views women with hostility and even derision, is tormented by the notion that they are laughing at him, and imagines even his would-be beloved as a shallow and unsympathetic society woman who can’t enter into his feelings about the futility and artificiality of their social world. The irony of the poem is that in the end, Prufrock himself proves unable to take a single decisive action to publicly signal his resistance to the false position men and women inhabit at all times under patriarchy. He lacks both courage and that knowing that can only come by doing—the kind of knowing that would make it possible for him to untether his self-worth from his virility and perceived respectability; the kind of knowing that would allow him to understand women as complex but knowable human beings rather than eerie and terrifying sirens or the list of individual female body parts he presents in the poem.
The poem is sad because Prufrock is not a brave person. In the last stanza, he fully reveals his awareness that his world—insofar as women are concerned—is an elaborate fantasy populated by unreal mermaids. But he remains afraid that if “human voices wake [him],” he “[will] drown.”
And yet, I derive a lot of hope from this poem. Because what Prufrock fails to do can still be done by others if we have the courage for it. The lines I’ve chosen to illustrate for this pendant design are words I’ve come back to often on my own journey to shake off social expectations that diminish my humanity. While these particular verses have been interpreted in many ways over the past century, they certainly give us a Prufrock frightened by the prospect of aging and trying to determine in what spirit he will meet that inevitable Coming Thing. May this pendant bring you courage to live with integrity and confidence, and to throw off those artifices that trouble you most.
Ships for free within the United States! Please allow 1 week for this item to ship.
International Shipping Notice
International shipping is available and will be calculated for you at checkout. Please allow 1 week for this item to ship.
© 2023 Bryana Joy
The artist retains all copyrights.